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Margaret Wente

Curtis Lantinga

Margaret Wente asked the question "Why are bloggers male?" in her recent column, and set off a firestorm of debate.

Commenters responded en masse with a mostly singular response: "they aren't." Female bloggers across Canada did what comes naturally and responded with their own posts. Annie Urban from notes that her blog is one of the 2,500 woman-written blogs that are part of the BlogHer network, which reaches more than 20 million people each month. "According to a BlogHer, ivillage and Compass Partners survey conducted in June 2009, there were 79 million female Internet users in the United States and 10% of them (8 million) write their own blogs," Ms. Urban writes. "I don't have comparative statistics for Canada, but from my experience, I expect it is very much the same. Women are blogging. Why aren't you reading them Margaret? "I'm no stranger to having guys try to mansplain things to me, but I certainly don't think women are lacking in opinions or in a willingness to share them. I have been opinionated all of my life and have been sharing that opinion with the world on my blog for two years. I write about research, politics and societal issues surrounding parenting, mothering and feminism."

Ms. Urban points out that Ms. Wente recently wrote a column about the gender gap in Canada, and that while "I can't identify with Wente's assertion that bloggers are overwhelmingly men, I can offer a partial explanation for that nightmare gender gap she was talking about. "When influential women are ignorant to the numerous women's voices on the Internet, when the voices of many women are dismissed as endearing, cute and girly, and when the voices of those women who are most oppressed are ignored altogether, that gender gap is perpetuated. Thank you, Margaret, for proving your own point about how hard it is to change the conversation." In her blog, MOM Magazine founder (and self-described potty-mouthed blogger) Tamara Plant blasted Ms. Wente's assertion that women are too demure to blog with the big boys, writing: "Nine times out of 10 I don't think before I talk. It's called having an attitude and I'm OK with it."

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Ms. Plant, Ms. Urban and Ms. Wente tackled the issue of whether or not blogging truly is best left to the guys. Click on the grey box to replay the conversation, or read the transcript below:

<iframe src="" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="600px" frameBorder ="0" allowTransparency="true" ><a href="" >Margaret Wente chats with women bloggers</a></iframe>

The Globe and Mail: Welcome to our columnist, Margaret Wente, and our bloggers who are joining us today: Annie Urban from and Tamara Plant from MOM Magazine

12:03 [Comment From phdinparentingphdinparenting: ]

Good afternoon

12:04 [Comment From MOMmagRocksMOMmagRocks: ]

Hey there

12:04 [Comment From MOMmagRocksMOMmagRocks: ]

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How is everyone today?

12:05 phdinparenting: Not bad. How are you Tamara?

12:05 MOMmagRocks: Fantastic :D pleasure to meet you!

12:05 Margaret Wente: Hi all. I'm looking forward to this one. I can't tell you how many people have been telling me how wrong I am. So let me open it up to you first, and then I'll give you the first word.

12:06 [Comment From shoeism shoeism : ]

Hello, and good afternoon to you too.

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12:06 phdinparenting: Thanks Margaret. A lot of people in my community have said you know very well that it isn't true that most bloggers are male and that you wrote this just for the page views. I'm not one to make that type of accusation, because it is made frequently of me too, but I do wonder why you didn't spend 5 minutes checking your facts?

12:06 [Comment From notlightnorchromanotlightnorchroma: ]

What a stir-em-up Margaret!

12:06 MOMmagRocks: LOL yes you did create quite the controversy Margaret... from my point of view, it made women look like helpless creatures who don't say naughty words or are willing to offend anyone *waving* over here...

12:07 [Comment From Heather Lowell JanssenHeather Lowell Janssen: ]

I'm always looking forward to hearing from Tamara.

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12:07 MOMmagRocks: Why didn't you just google female bloggers, Margaret?

12:07 [Comment From NickNick: ]

Has ms. Wente not seen the movie Julie and Julia? I doubt there are any male bloggers famous enough to have a movie made about ther.

12:08 MOMmagRocks: That column just seemed like something a group of clucking hens would do at a mommy's group - bash men, then bashe each other... not cool

12:08 phdinparenting: Forrester has an excellent social media consumer profile tool It shows that 20% of Canadian men and 16% of Canadian women are social media content creators. In lower age brackets though, e.g. 18 to 24, it is virtually equal between the two genders.

12:08 Margaret Wente: Okay, I'll try to justify myself here. I was referring in my column to the type of blogging that refers to news and current events. This is largely -- though by no means exclusively -- a male world, just as radio phone-in talk shows and televsion panels of people analyzing and opining on the days' events. Just look at CNN, or The National. In my view this reflects the fact that many men love to opinionize on the spot. It's a form of competition.

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12:09 MOMmagRocks: Maybe so but you should've clarified that.

12:09 [Comment From BernieBernie: ]

This seems to be dredging up gender wars. It seems that in the 60's and 70's the founder's of the women's movement stressed that men were the enemy. If there is an enemy out there, is it just as likely to be other women?

12:10 MOMmagRocks: I like to throw down with the best of em, male or female.

12:10 phdinparenting: There are certainly a lot of high profile blogs and blogging empires focused on current event that are run by women - e.g. Huffington Post, BlogHer, The Daily Beast, etc.

12:10 MOMmagRocks: And you were quite specific about women "not blogging". Look at Erica Ehm's Yummy Mummy Club. her whole concept is based on mommy bloggers

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12:11 [Comment From ocelottocelott: ]

Literary and book blogs are vastly dominated by women.

12:11 MOMmagRocks: Food blogger Julie Van Rosendaal's Dinner With Julie, Erin Rosar's The Wine Girl...

12:11 Margaret Wente: About stirring up the gender wars: Well, I was being a bit tongue-in cheek. There really is a thing called Male Answer Synndrome , which means that men are pretty quick to shoot their mouths off in a very competitive way.

12:12 MOMmagRocks: Many experts in various industries use blogs as a form of marketing - finance, food, housing, etc

12:12 [Comment From amyamy: ]

So blogs that don't talk about news and current events don't count as 'real' blogs?

12:12 MOMmagRocks: Yah I suffer from a lot of syndromes, penis envy is one of them ;)

12:12 phdinparenting: Blogging for me is not about competition. It is about having a voice, advocacy, politics, sharing. I see that as more important and useful than shooting off at the mouth. However, I know some women who do shout off at the mouth and plenty of men who don't.

12:13 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

That's odd, Margaret, I read a lot of Canadian women bloggers who write about politics.

12:13 [Comment From KaitlinKaitlin: ]

Huffington Post is a *great* example of blogging about current events!

12:13 MOMmagRocks: Blogs truly are used as a form of marketing, not just about bored housewives with nothing better to do

12:14 MOMmagRocks: Margaret, your comment about blog comments was pretty close to true... lots of people who comment hide behind anonymity and shoot their mouths off, but i see it from women more so than men

12:15 MOMmagRocks: and most women - or men - wouldn't dare say it to your face, had they had the chance.

12:15 [Comment From BernieBernie: ]

I agree with Margaret on Male Answer Syndrome, and about many of the things she writes about. I really enjoyed her latest book. I think she brings a refreshing perspective that moves us beyond the man v .woman stalemate for which both genders keep going albiet in their unique ways.

12:15 [Comment From HMBCHMBC: ]

The whole question of "Male Answer Syndrome," too, seems to suggest that all men are brainless goons that shoot first and ask questions later. Can I just point out that a good number of bloggers are generally intelligent and respectable people? The fact that they choose to express themselves in writing seems to contradict the idea you're trying to create that blogging is a form of masculinity - given the choice between watching hockey and writing a blog, it seems like the more testosterone-driven man will stay off the internet.

12:15 phdinparenting: I write about research, politics and societal issues surrounding parenting, mothering and feminism. While I don't jump on every current event and add my opinion to it (like many commenters on mainstream media websites do), I do comment on politics and current events where relevant. I did a series on the last election, breaking down what each party's platform means for families and parents:

12:16 Margaret Wente: PhD, you've brought up an important point. I think that men and women to some extent use blogging for different purposes. The Mommyblogs are an obvious example -- they create an all-female world of mutual interests. I've noticed that Mommybloggers are extremely sensitive about not being taken seriously (for example, by The New York Times). I wonder if any of you would like to comment .

12:16 [Comment From Reality ChickReality Chick: ]

I am a female blog owner. While I don't "blog" in the true sense of the word, I do use a blog because of its user friendliness and features. The contents of are anything *but* endearing, cute or girly. Instead, I oppose tasers and excessive use of force by police, which sometimes frightens me because people I don't know come there from all over the world and it has the potential to be a dangerous place for me to be. However, I believe in what I'm doing and I believe that I've had a significant impact on the way taser policies have changed and continue to change in Canada and elsewhere, and so I continue to post daily updates and so far, I'm still here. Owner of

12:16 [Comment From shoeismshoeism: ]

Anyone who has ever been in a class with mostly men will agree that there is such a thing as MAS. I would argue that blogging isn't about that, to the vast majority of bloggers.

12:16 [Comment From deepakdeepak: ]

indeed men do talk before they think their concepts through. i am not sure that it means that they blog more...

12:17 [Comment From gordongordon: ]

Are you just a blogger of a slightly different colour? Though you perhaps don't have your own blog, you are effectively blogging when you have an opinion piece posted on the G&M's website.

12:17 MOMmagRocks: I agree with you on that, Margaret... but they have a lot to prove bc they are labelled as just "SAHMs" or WHAMs" with no obvious knowledge or expertise on anything other than changing poopy diapers

12:18 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

I write 2 very small blogs - one on current events, topics of interest, women's issues, politics - and the other is for a gardening club. The tone and content of the blogs are by their very nature dramatically different. I certainly express my opinions, political or otherwise on my personal blog. However, I do see that most political blogging per se and commentary is by men. The anonymity of the comments allows them to drop the veneer of civility and show their true feelings about women.

12:18 phdinparenting: Margaret, I wrote about the NY Times article too. There is a great deal of diversity among mom bloggers. Not everything that all of them write interests me, but you could say the same for any newspaper out there. I take the sports section and drop it directly into the recycling.

12:18 MOMmagRocks: Let's be honest here, ANYONE can start a blog, it doesn't make you and expert or a writer

12:18 phdinparenting: Here is a link to my post on the NY Times article:

12:18 MOMmagRocks: But that doesn't mean that women - influential women - don't blog

12:18 [Comment From Lemon HoundLemon Hound: ]

I have been blogging for six years and always note the lack of women in public discourse, not necessarily on blogs, but in arguments.

12:18 [Comment From ShariShari: ]

If you take away the fashion/mommy/cooking/travel/marketing bloggers what do have? I use FB/Twitter and find that the Social Media professionals are usual marketers with overblow opinion of themselves.

12:18 [Comment From jessbennettjessbennett: ]

Agree with shoeism. Ms. Wente clearing doesn't understand best practices blogging if she thinks it's all about vomiting out opinions that are entirely unsubstantiated. No one reads those blogs because those people are idiots.

12:19 Margaret Wente: On men blogging: Among many of the male bloggers I know -- especially the ultra successful ones -- there's a sort of rivalry to see how much stuff they can pump out, how quickly. That's really a guy thing, don't you think?

12:19 phdinparenting: I agree Tamara. Not everyone is an expert or a writer. There are great blogs and not so great blogs. Just like there are great journalists and not so great journalists. Some how though, the not so great journalists keep getting paid.

12:19 MOMmagRocks: No, I don't agree with that Margaret, because I like to battle. Doesn't matter with who, but I won't give the time of day to a meek pansy - woman or man.

12:20 phdinparenting: Margaret: I haven't seen that type of rivalry among either the male or female bloggers that I read. But perhaps that is because I don't read the ultra-competitive shooting off at the mouth type of blog!

12:20 MOMmagRocks: I argue all the time with the comments and with people who hate my magazine - it just adds fuel to my passion. If you have no passion, you have no fun!

12:20 [Comment From JennJenn: ]

Uh oh. I suffer from Male Answer Syndrome.

12:20 phdinparenting: There is certainly some jealousy around the size of the community that some bloggers have managed to generate (comment envy?), but I don't see much competition around pumping out a certain number of posts.

12:21 MOMmagRocks: On the same note, I could care less what other "mommy magazine" bloggers are doing because they're not doing it the way I do. So I don't see them as competition

12:21 MOMmagRocks: Yup PHD, comment envy is big...

12:21 phdinparenting: Lemon Hound: What types of arguments? I'll argue with you if I think it is important, but I won't argue for argument's sake.

12:21 MOMmagRocks: g got 14987 comments so that makes me freakin AWESOME

12:22 [Comment From joeboughnerjoeboughner: ]

Ok seriously? "That's really a guy thing, don't you think?" No, I don't think. That's a broad and baseless allegation based on your limited experience with bloggers. Back that up, please. Show us some evidence.

12:22 MOMmagRocks: I think the underlying problem is that you made it sound like women are too important and so much better than men to get into a fight or throw down in a blog... we're so busy getting our nails done and doing laundry to do anything of any importance

12:23 MOMmagRocks: And THAT p*ssed me off

12:24 MOMmagRocks: Again, just being honest here, but women are catty by nature... they like to gossip, be malicious and scratch each other's eyes out (Mean Girls, anyone?) A blog is the perfect forum for that

12:24 phdinparenting: I don't think it is worth getting pissed off about (personally), but I get irked when a newspaper that I otherwise respect publishes yet another article full of misconceptions about female bloggers.

12:24 MOMmagRocks: Ah, but pHD, that's when I start getting passionate (its a scorpio thing)...

12:25 MOMmagRocks: *crickets*

12:26 [Comment From amotherworldamotherworld: ]

Among many of the female bloggers, there is also a bit of competition so it's not just a guy thing.

12:26 [Comment From joeboughnerjoeboughner: ]

I'm seeing all kinds of good discussion around the differences between certain types of bloggers, certain types of blogs and certain types of commenters. Not a single one is divided on gender lines.

12:26 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

This chat clearly exemplifies that women have opinions, and can articulate them

12:26 Margaret Wente: To be honest, I don't think anyone really knows how many female vs. male blogger there are, or how many people read what types of blogs. I'm mainly interested in commentary on current events, and I'm not a mommy, so my blog reading skews heavily male. Women certainly don't blog on current events in the same proportions as men, possibly because, as many of them have suggested to me, they have better things to do (and blog about).

12:26 MOMmagRocks: Ah amotherworld, I concur... there IS a competition... but its only competitive if you actually care what the other mommy bloggers are doing

12:26 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

I agree PHD >> i think there's more serious journalism issues here than the male-female discussion

12:27 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

But it's a column, and the writer is entitled to her opinion. I don't think she needs to back everything up like people would expect out of a news piece.

12:27 [Comment From Fritz VFritz V: ]

Agreed, phdinparenting. Especially considering that the same newspaper has a pretty healthy roster of female bloggers on politics and current events: Jane Taber, Stephanie Nolen, Jessica Leeder ...

12:27 [Comment From TimTim: ]

"Blog mobs" pop up all the time and they're money in the bank. Gender has nothing to do with it.

12:27 phdinparenting: Margaret: Actually a number of firms do research that type of thing. There are plenty of stats.

12:27 [Comment From James FreyJames Frey: ]

Men (or women) don't blog just to pump out volume -- most do it to support their business. Its around giving your potential clients free stuff they can use, not necessarily an opinion.

12:27 MOMmagRocks: Well, Margaret, perhaps you should have been slightly clearer in your rant because your column was not focused on politics or current events

12:28 [Comment From zchamuzchamu: ]

Margaret - I do have to ask - were you aware of the nature of the Huffington Post and BlogHer before you wrote your article? Were you aware that BlogHer is the largest blogging conference out there?

12:28 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

In addition to blogging, I also write for an online newspaper. Both men and women comment on my columns, but the men are usually the ones in "attack" mode.

12:28 MOMmagRocks: You're lumping female bloggers in the "mommy blog" group and that - once again - is a stereotype

12:28 [Comment From ChristiChristi: ]

Margaret - i think using words like "sensitive" about women bloggers isn't helpful. Once again perpetuating a stereotype of the hysterical woman. There is great diversity amongst women bloggers and some of us (not me) are building serious business empires. Look at Jen Lancaster, Pioneer Woman & Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist. My wee little blog is fun for me, I don't aspire to that. Your column, in my opinion, wasn't well thought out, if you didn't think to include Huffington Post.

12:28 phdinparenting: Margaret: Is it possible you are not only reading current events, but also primarily reading conservative leaning current events? That could be why it is male dominated. In my experience, women who use their voices are not usually right-wing. Although there are exceptions there too.

12:29 MOMmagRocks: Like I said, women don't JUST blog about poopy diapers and little Johnny's next milestone

12:30 Margaret Wente: I go to HuffPost all the time, and I also like Megan McArdle (an economist) and a bunch of other female bloggers. I admit you guys are expanding my horizons.

12:31 MOMmagRocks: We actually have opinions based on current events: I have been following and being a champion for Tim's Law - Tim McLean was the kid on the greyhound bus who was brutally murdered, cannibalized and beheaded in 2007

12:31 phdinparenting: I would highly recommend the News and Politics channel on BlogHer. Lots of diverse voices:

12:31 MOMmagRocks: So don't tell me that women don't blog about "important issues"

12:31 The Globe and Mail: PhDinParenting: You're a BlogHer blogger - what do you see as the benefits of being part of that big network?

12:32 [Comment From plastikgyrlplastikgyrl: ]

Most of the women bloggers I read post about "news and current events." Many of them are prolific. I think though, that their/our voices are discounted in large part because of how we choose to contextualize the news and current events. That's not to say that male bloggers aren't also using their lived experience in their analysis of the big picture - indeed, that number seems to be picking up as more men write from the domestic sphere. And maybe that's where the disconnect lies: matters of the home and family are still predominantly seen as women's work, and any analysis that comes from that social location can't possibly have the same authority or validity as the cold hard "facts" that are blogged elsewhere.

12:32 [Comment From francis ffrancis f: ]

with the scope and size of subjects and interests and people that you can connect with on the internet (sports, fashion, music, parenting, news, travel, etc. etc.), even attempting to generalize the 'blogosphere' is futile and pointless. if you're going to comment on the 'man-ness' of current affairs blogging, then we're just talking about the usual suspects that rile everyone up on fox and cnn on a daily basis, and here we are debating absolutely nothing new.

12:32 [Comment From KaitlinKaitlin: ]

Is it also possible, Margaret, that you read blogs produced by well known journalists? I disagree that journalism is gender neutral, speaking as a media historian. I would like to see evidence to back that claim up.

12:32 Margaret Wente: Right-wing women: You must be kidding! I hate to tell you, but many of the most popular female bloggers are right wing. Michelle Malkin. Melanie Phillips. Small Dead Animals here in Canada. I could go on.

12:32 [Comment From jmeganjmegan: ]

Antonia Zerbisias writes a great political/current events blog...

12:32 [Comment From amyamy: ]

I would also point out that a lot of so called 'mommy bloggers' do blog about political issues when things happen that make them passionate. I certainly do.

12:33 phdinparenting: Thanks for asking Globe and Mail. There are a number of aspects to BlogHer. Women bloggers can post on the BlogHer site and get more exposure for their ideas. Women can attend their conferences to network with others. And women can be part of their ad network to generate revenue on their blogs.

12:33 [Comment From BigDaddySaidBigDaddySaid: ]

Thinking and speaking (or blogging) should be in balance. Some topics require more thought and research than others. Sometimes it"s OK to shoot from the hip and just mouth off.

12:33 [Comment From MelanieMelanie: ]

Mommag: "women are catty by nature . . . love to gossip and scratch each others' eyes out"? I think you're just as guilty of making broad generalizations about gender as Margaret.

12:33 [Comment From RebeccaRebecca: ]

re: 'mommy bloggers' only having mom/child focus to their blog is not entirely accurate (many do yes) but there are many amazing writers who write about current events, political/social issues etc. in an informative or educated way. Take the time to explore what's out there and you'll see the quality is incredible, and information is vast.

12:33 [Comment From amotherworldamotherworld: ]

At the same time, Margaret's column is her opinion to which she is, like everybody else, entitled.

12:33 MOMmagRocks: Melanie, maybe so but it's what I see...

12:34 MOMmagRocks: There was absolutely no research done for this column and i understand it's an opiniuon piece but try to at least be INFORMED about your opinion

12:35 phdinparenting: amotherworld: Margaret is entitled to her own opinion. But if I shared the opinion that the world is flat, people would probably jump up and tell me I was wrong.

12:35 phdinparenting: Margaret Wente: Oh, good. I'm glad you have found some women bloggers that you like.

12:36 MOMmagRocks: LOL phd, see, there ARE femal bloggers.. thought you said there weren't, Margaret

12:36 [Comment From jmeganjmegan: ]

Also, a lot of the feminist blogs write about current/political events - Shakesville, Feministing, etc

12:37 [Comment From shoeismshoeism: ]

You know, in a way, Margaret, your original article about men bloggers was a touch like MAS itself, wasn't it?

12:37 MOMmagRocks: Jmegan: you don't have to be a fminist to write a blog...

12:37 [Comment From Lemon HoundLemon Hound: ]

I don't see women's opinions shaping public discourse, or public policies...the problem isn't that women aren't out there rather that they don't seem to be immediately folded in to these discourses. I don't want to go to a Mommy blog, or blogher, I want more women, the mommy voices, in the can hit on the G&M almost any day and see 5 our 6 male blogger voices...that's what needs to change.

12:38 MOMmagRocks: what i thought was incredible tacky - and I don't know who was responsible for this - was the link to the 3 dead men in the BC avalanche from Marg's column... tasteless on SO many levels

12:38 [Comment From jmeganjmegan: ]

MommagRocks - agreed! Just pointing out some counter-examples, of women who blog about current events and politics.

12:38 Margaret Wente: One thing that's really impressing me about this conversation is that it turns out women on line can be every bit as insulting, judgmental and wrong-headed as men. Is this good , or bad?

12:38 phdinparenting: Lemon Hound: That is more of an issue of hiring practices in mainstream media then.

12:38 [Comment From KaitlinKaitlin: ]

Assuming that there are few female bloggers commenting on current events, I would chalk this up to the political economy of journalism and politics in general.

12:39 MOMmagRocks: Margaret, I eptiomize vulgarity, raunchiness and all things inappropriate. And I don't have a d*ck

12:39 [Comment From ReaderReader: ]

Margaret's column was obviously not researched or rooted in reality. Which begs the question -- did Globe and Mail editors run it simply for the controversy and web hits (hence this lively debate)?

12:39 MOMmagRocks: just saying :D

12:39 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

No one said you had to be a feminist to write a blog, MOMMagRocks, Jmegan was listing feminist blogs that write about current political events.

12:39 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

I think this is a very reasonable discussion.

12:39 phdinparenting: I don't think being judgmental, insulting or wrong-headed is useful at all for any gender. I think well-reasoned, well-researched arguments are critical for discussion.

12:39 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

It's neither good nor bad that women can be as insulting and argumentative. It just *is*. You can't really attach a value-judgement like that.

12:39 [Comment From ocelottocelott: ]

Women are people too, Ms. Wente. So yes, they can be wrong, offensive, or what have you, just like men.

12:39 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

Dear Globe & Mail: there are actually almost 19,000 blogs listed on the BlogHer network, the 2500 number is how many are part of the ad network. Not all blogs have ads.

12:40 [Comment From GuestGuest: ]

someone who is proud of their "potty-mouth" is hardly in a position to complain about someone else's taste. The analogy to the snowmobilers in the avalanche was to demonstrate men's willingness to take risks as far as I could tell.

12:41 [Comment From gordongordon: ]

MOMmagRocks: I totally agree with you wrt the picture.

12:41 [Comment From JennJenn: ]

Generalizing by gender is rarely useful. Individuals vary pretty widely.

12:41 phdinparenting: Guest: That is true and that 19,000 is also just the blogs listed on Blogher. There are around 8 million blogs written by women in the United States.

12:41 MOMmagRocks: Dear Guest: hiding behind anonymity?? I'm not proud of my potty mouth, I just don't pretend to be something I'm not

12:42 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

The analogy to the snowmobilers just added a humorous touch to her article, nothing wrong with that.

12:42 [Comment From gordon gordon : ]

@Guest: There are women who snowmobile, you know.

12:43 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

Phd - I just wanted them to correct the mention in the article above - and you are absolutely correct

12:43 MOMmagRocks: I think we're making a point here: women can be nasty and insulting AND blog...

12:43 [Comment From writelife writelife : ]

Why does everything begin with the predicate that men are vulgar idiots? Seems to me that means men define women and that you spend to much time with the wrong men.

12:44 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

There are numerous Canadian women blogging about politics, with a large readership. Why aren't we talking about any of them?

12:44 Margaret Wente: Believe it or not, I don't write columns to generate web hits. If I did, I'd write exclusively about Tiger Woods sexting Sarah Palin on a melting iceberg. (All you have to do is put "sex") in the headline to get plenty of hits.) This was a lighter piece about opinions and sex differences in expressing them (just see our usual online comments: I'd bet that 80 per cent are male). I was amazed by the response. I thought it was men who'd get mad. Instead it's women. In fact a bunch of men have told me I'm absolutely right. Women tend to express themselves more thoughtfully than men do, and do not feel they have to score points all the time. (Maybe this assertion is both right and wrong.)

12:44 [Comment From Jack Spratt Jack Spratt : ]

PHD: where did you get the stat, 8 million women bloggers in the US? And is there similar stats for men?

12:44 MOMmagRocks: Thank you writelife: if roles were reversed the feminists would be all up in their faces "How DARE you talk about women that way!"

12:45 phdinparenting: Women may express themselves thoughtfully and they do so in droves on their blogs.

12:45 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

There are a number of prolific Canadian women microblogging (on twitter) as well about news about politics. @RosieBarton, @kady, @impolitical all good examples.

12:45 MOMmagRocks: Sorry to break the rules, Margaret, but I do not worry nor do I care about what other ppl think, especially when I'm blogging or publishing... don't like it, don't read it

12:45 [Comment From amy_boughner amy_boughner : ]

MOMmag I think the point should probably be 'how dare you generalize about human beings that way'

12:45 phdinparenting: I'm not usually one to comment on mainstream news articles online on their websites. I find the conversations there are generally pretty infantile. I prefer to take the discussion to my blog and also send it as a letter to the editor.

12:45 MOMmagRocks: And i think THAT'S why I am as well-received as I am

12:46 MOMmagRocks: yes, phd, I agree. I'd rather send an email or chat with the editor...

12:46 phdinparenting: Back to the issue of current events, one of my followers on twitter just made an important point. Who is it that defines what "current events" are? Isn't that generally defined by men? Perhaps the problem is that the current events that are of interest to the vast majority of women are not considered important current events.

12:47 MOMmagRocks: Well, personally I'm sick of Tiger, Jesse James and the rest of the celebrity crap which I don't consider Top News ...

12:47 phdinparenting: You can read her wonderful blog on many important issues here:

12:48 [Comment From Jeff Hume Jeff Hume : ]

Margaret, I don't see how your job as a generalizing, opining, columnist is different from what bloggers do. You're drawing an arbitrary distinction and looking down from on high.

12:48 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

My goodness, the sexism and gender essentialism going on here is breathtaking. Is it really necessary to make sweeping statements about *any* gender?

12:49 MOMmagRocks: Hey Jeff, good point but she has a major newspaper backing her AND is a legit journalist. Most bloggers are not

12:49 [Comment From Loulou Loulou : ]

Hey all... my thoughts on this issue:

12:49 [Comment From amotherworld amotherworld : ]

Jeff Hume - well said.

12:49 phdinparenting: Jack Spratt: Give me a moment and I'll find the link.

12:49 [Comment From Bernie Bernie : ]

Jeff- there is a huge difference between a newspaper and blogging.

12:49 [Comment From amy_boughner amy_boughner : ]

Let's not forget that there's a difference between a columnist and a journalist

12:50 MOMmagRocks: Yes, Bernie and amy, there is... legit journalists vs columinist vs bloggers.. its SUCH a different forum

12:50 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

Canadian Women Bloggers include Renee @ Womanist Musings, Catie Cat @ Shakesville, Anna @ FWD/Forward, Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome, Jaded Old Hippy - there are Canadian Women Political Blogger Awards every year as well.

12:51 [Comment From Margaret Wente Margaret Wente : ]

is my job different from what bloggers do? Yes, in a couple of ways. It's far more structured. I do it three times a week, and it's longer than the average blog, so it has to have a structure and an extended argument. It has to pass muster with my editors (who DO give me tremendous freedom), and it has to be popular with a whole lot of readers. It's also got to be intelligent, informed and well written -- although whether it always meets those standards is of course a subject of some debate.

12:52 [Comment From Shari Shari : ]

Not all bloggers are floggers. Some Mommy bloggers are literate,insightful and funny. My 24 yr old follows feminist/antitracist bloggers. I follow crafters/cookers/social scientists/journalist/economists/travelers/science blogs, and don't care if they're by women or men. As for Mommagrocks and phdinparenting, if their blogs are as shallow as their comments here I will not read them.

12:52 MOMmagRocks: Wow, Margaret, you think quite highly of yourself don't you...

12:53 MOMmagRocks: That last column was not intelligent, well written OR informed

12:53 MOMmagRocks: which is why we are here

12:53 Margaret Wente: Do I think highly of myself? I will tell you a secret. Most newspaper columnists are incredibly insecure. I do think very highly of The Globe and Mail and its readers.

12:54 MOMmagRocks: Well you have to, they pay you.

12:56 Jennifer MacMillan: We're going to wrap up shortly, but just wanted to say it's been one of our more raucous live discussions so far ;)

Margaret - considering the response that your column got, has it changed your opinion? Do you think you'd write the same column again?

12:56 MOMmagRocks: Look, I'm not here to offend anyone, I am merely trying to state a position that Women Blog, Women can throw down and Men are not stupid, incompetant barbarians

12:57 MOMmagRocks: Thanks Jenn... truly enjoyed this!! A pleasure chatting with you ladies! Truly!

12:57 [Comment From shoeism shoeism : ]

MOMMagRocks, that isn't a fair comment. Margaret just illustrated the difference between blogger and her job. Just facts.

12:57 [Comment From sashaeskie sashaeskie : ]

Margaret, I just read your column and I think you are absolutely right! Every word. I read lots of blogs and every single author is male.

12:57 [Comment From JP JP : ]

MOMmag, just because you feel she didn't live up to the standard, doesn't give you the right to be a bully.

12:57 MOMmagRocks: Shameless plug:

12:57 Margaret Wente: Would I write the same column again? Let's just say whenever I manage to offend such a large group of people, it is cause to reflect. (I once insulted the entire province of Newfoundland.)

12:58 [Comment From Guest Guest : ]

Oh, come on MOMmagRocks. That was uncalled for.

12:58 [Comment From JP JP : ]

Hear hear Shari.

12:58 MOMmagRocks: Guest, get a username and quit hiding... anonymity is for weaklings

12:58 [Comment From hypatiadotca hypatiadotca : ]

@MOMmagRocks: and I'll add to that that gender essentialism is both misguided and unhelpful :)

12:58 [Comment From Shari Shari : ]

I buy the globe and pay for it. I do not agree with Ms.Wente all the the time, but I know that the world would be a boring place without her.

12:59 Margaret Wente: I've enjoyed this discussion (sort of). i wonder what would happen if we all got together over dinner. I imagine there'd be lots of bun throwing. We need more of that in this country.

12:59 [Comment From David in Markham David in Markham : ]

I don't understand why the stronger more opinionated women who are more comfortable with voicing their opinions like MOMmagRocks think the rest of women are just like her. It's pretty obvious that it's not

12:59 MOMmagRocks: David, I don't. I think they should be.

12:59 MOMmagRocks: I agree Margaret! Thanks again!!

1:01 The Globe and Mail: It's been a lively hour - thanks to our commenters for joining in. Thanks to Margaret and thanks to our blogger panellists - Annie Urban and Tamara Plant.

1:01 [Comment From phdinparenting phdinparenting : ]

Can't find the link for that study right now, but it is the 2009 Compass BlogHer Social Media Study

1:02 [Comment From Reality Chick Reality Chick : ]

I think therefore I blog

1:02 [Comment From phdinparenting phdinparenting : ]

Thank you!

1:02 [Comment From phdinparenting phdinparenting : ]

Thanks everyone.

1:03 [Comment From Laura Laura : ]

Thanks to Margaret for bringing attention to the issue. @Phd - thanks for bringing in the facts that Margaret will surely include next time. ;)

1:03 [Comment From shoeism shoeism : ]

Diversity is what makes things interesting. If everyone shouted in the same way, who would listen. Anyway, this has been a great discussion with food for thought. Bye all!

1:03 phdinparenting: Here is one version of the study I mentioned earlier: Not the same document I was looking at yesterday, but based on the same survey.

1:03 [Comment From Kaitlin Kaitlin : ]

Shari, the world would not be a boring place without her. Some of us could actually read the paper without getting in a tizzy over someone who doesn't know what she's talking about.

1:03 [Comment From valerieinto valerieinto : ]

Maybe someone should invite Ms. Wente to the next Toronto Geek Girl Dinner in a couple weeks. No buns will likely be served.

1:04 [Comment From writelife writelife : ]

Who blogs and why? Now that would be an interesting column.

1:04 [Comment From JP JP : ]

One can respectfully and intelligently disagree...or one can be MOMmag-ish.

1:04 phdinparenting: Globe and Mail: Does the discussion stay up afterward for people who want to view it after the fact? If not, is a transcript available.

1:05 The Globe and Mail: Yes - we're going to leave the discussion up afterward, and a transcript should also be available on the same page later today :)

1:05 MOMmagRocks: Thank JP! appreciate it :D

1:05 phdinparenting: Excellent. Have a great afternoon everyone. Keep on blogging everyone.

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